Films about Yamagata
  • The Man Who Shot Godzilla: Honda Ishiro Centennial
  • Arise, Japan: Escape from Occupation
  • Iwanami Productions, An Overview of Social-Studies Films, and More
  • Seasons of Magic Lantern
  • Yamagata Household Cinema
  • Legendary Filmmakers of Yamagata: the Actress Yokoyama Rie
  • The Future of Yamagata and Film
  • Special Screening
  • Iwanami Productions, An Overview of Social-Studies Films, and More

    Iwanami Film Works Special Program

    This program will present films related to Yamagata, including an overview of social-studies films from Iwanami Productions and a film produced by Yamagata Prefecture. Yanagisawa Hisao’s Industry and Electricity speaks to problems of the present day, the films of Higuchi Genichiro (born in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture) exhibit a scientific sensibility, and A Danish Farm in Japan opens a window on agriculture in early postwar Yamagata.

    -Discovery of Japan: Yamagata Prefecture

    (Nihon hakken shirizu Yamagata-ken)

    1959 / Japanese / B&W / Video (Original: 16mm) / 28 min

    Production Company: Iwanami Productions
    Source: Documentary Film Preservation Center

    In a series of 30-minute programs that began broadcast in 1961 on the Nihon Educational Television network (now TV Asahi), 54 programs profiled all the prefectures of Japan. The programs were low-budget, with a three-person crew (director, camera, camera assistant) going on location for shoots lasting about ten days. Directors such as Kuroki Kazuo and Tsuchimoto Noriaki worked on this series. Suzuki Tatsuo, later a noted cameraman, supervised the Yamagata episode. Many Iwanami staffers left the company after encountering the contradictions that emerged in Japan as it entered the period of rapid growth of the 1960s.

    -Industry and Electricity

    (Sangyo to denryoku)

    1952 / Japanese / B&W / Video (Original: 16mm) / 22 min

    Director: Yanagisawa Hisao
    Production Company: Iwanami Productions
    Source: Documentary Film Preservation Center

    A film directed by Yanagisawa Hisao, a noted documentary filmmaker who was featured in a special program at YIDFF 1999. In the early postwar period, Tokyo Electric Power Co. struggles with shortages of electricity. Factories shutting down for planned power outages bring to mind scenes from Japan earlier this year. Tokyo depends on hydroelectric power produced at Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture. However, an accident results in a shortage of electricity.

    -Cast Metal Town

    (Imono no machi)

    1952 / Japanese / B&W / Video (Original: 16mm) / 19 min

    Director: Higuchi Genichiro
    Production Company: Tokyo Eiga Gijutsu Kenkyujo
    Source: Documentary Film Preservation Center

    An educational film, depicting the local industry in Kawaguchi, an iron-casting center. The film features the delightful music of Johann Strauss and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. It is filled with the scientific sensibility of the director Higuchi Genichiro, who is known for his science films.

    -A Town without Flies

    (Hae no inai machi)

    1950 / Japanese / B&W / Video (Original: 16mm) / 12 min

    Director: Mura Haruo
    Script: Hani Susumu
    Photography: Yoshino Keiji
    Production Company: Iwanami Productions
    Source: Documentary Film Preservation Center

    - Children investigate the reason why flies proliferate no matter how many are caught. They work with the local health center and townspeople to keep the town sanitary, but a horse-drawn carriage coming from a neighboring town is infested with flies, and flies are brought in by trucks and on people’s backs. The film explores the subject of our living environment, suggesting that community hygiene is not something that can be delegated to the authorities.

    -A Danish Farm in Japan

    (Nihon no denmaku nojo)

    1954 / Japanese / B&W / 16mm / 20 min

    Director, Script: Higuchi Genichiro
    Photography: Kizuka Seiichi
    Production Company: Naigai Eigasha
    Source: Kobe Planet Film Archives

    A film about a Danish dairy farming program led by Emil and Frieda Fenger, who were invited to come to Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, in the early postwar period. The film was produced by Yamagata Prefecture and directed by Higuchi Genichiro. Fenger Memorial Hall stands today on the grounds of the Yamagata Prefectural Kamuro Industrial High School.


    Iwanami Film Works Special Program

    -Dream & Melancholy: Yoshino Keiji and Iwanami Productions

    (Yume to yuutsu--Yoshino Keiji to Iwanami eiga)

    2011 / Japanese / Color / Video / 122 min

    Director: Katsura Shuntaro
    Production: Documentary Film “Dream & Melancholy: Yoshino Keiji and Iwanami Productions” Production Committee
    Source: Documentary Film Preservation Center

    Yoshino Keiji was one of the founders of Iwanami Productions. From his roots as a cameraman, how did he start the film production company, and what were his goals? This film depicts the dreams and anguish Yoshino invested in scientific films, through interviews with a variety of people who were involved with Iwanami Productions. The glory and setbacks in the production company’s history of nurturing young filmmakers are explored through excerpts from numerous documentary films.